OSM/VISTA - Watershed Coordinator, Friends of Deckers Creek, Morgantown, West Virginia
Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement
 
How Brian Russell Carlson got involved with Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement
Throughout my time as an undergrad I was always interested in public service so upon earning by BS in Environment and Natural Resources I explored opportunities through Americorps. I stumbled upon the Appalachian Coal County Watershed Team (now known as the Appalachian Coal Country Team) and was intrigued by their mission and goals for environmental improvement and education throughout historic coal regions in Appalachia. I applied and interviewed with numerous nonprofit organizations and federal agencies in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky. I felt most comfortable and confident in Friends of Deckers Creek (FODC) in Morgantown, West Virginia. The job description they provided seemed to fit my own personal goals for professional development. I was to be heavily involved in the field and laboratory work; spearhead FODC’s monitoring programs, and study sediment loading in a particular tributary to Deckers Creek. With plans to attend graduate school for fisheries resources, this opportunity was one I could not pass up.
 
Experience
To pinpoint one experience which rises above the rest throughout my two years with FODC would be difficult. In general I greatly appreciate the environmental education activities and lessons I complete with area youth in and out of the classroom. They are the most personally rewarding. I love to see the expressions of excitement and interest when explaining what roles insects play in the ecological function and health of a freshwater stream. For professional development I will always remember the work I completed in reporting sediment impairment within a tributary to Deckers Creek. I led teams in collecting field data, processed laboratory specimens, and wrote a comprehensive report to present to national, state, and local governments in order to secure support for future restoration efforts within the sub-watershed of concern. This experience encompassed so many responsibilities and skills that I am very much prepared to tackle any long term project or environmental study in the future.
 
Brian Russell Carlson's accomplishments
Throughout my time with FODC, I wrote many reports, press releases, letters, and grants which has resulted in the improving of my writing skills significantly. This all became evident when I finished my sediment report. With the editing assistance of other FODC staff members, I was able improve upon myself and produce a scientifically valid and well written report, which means a lot to me now that it is printed. I gathered field data, completed hours of laboratory work, analyzed the findings, drew conclusions, found correlations, and wrote a comprehensive report on sediment impairment. I also became an excellent leader through my time as crew and team leader in work I completed with FODC. This work included sampling and monitoring efforts, litter clean ups, fundraising efforts, and event planning and coordinating to name a few.
 
Brian Russell Carlson's next steps
I have plans to earn an M.S. in Fisheries Resources at West Virginia University. This is a branch of environmental study I have always wanted to pursue further as stream ecology is something I have always been interested in, well before working with FODC. My time with FODC has given me an advantage in pursuing such an opportunity. The knowledge I have gained related to proper sampling methods for chemistry, fish, benthics, and habitat, fish and benthic identification skills, writing skills, and data analysis will have me better prepared for this field and level of study. From here I would like to travel to Central or Northern California to work in protecting our ever increasing valuable freshwater streams out West.
 
Hometown: Hometown: Troy, Ohio Currently: Morgantown, West Virginia
School: The Ohio State University
Major: Environmental Policy & Natural Resource Management